Posted on Feb 8th, 2008 in Mindspray by admin
I’m about to board a flight to Australia, where I’ll be performing at the Good Vibrations festival in 4 cities, both as A-Trak & Kid Sister and with Kanyeezy. I think it’s my 8th or 9th time in Australia. I’ve been there more than France, for some reason.
Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, like Lesotho. Popular folklore says that toilets flush in the other direction in the Southern Hemisphere. I learned this by watching the Simpsons. If you saw my DVD you know that on my first trip down under (in 1998), I filmed myself not only flushing the toilet but also letting the sink and the bathtub drain into a whirlpool… because in fact this isn’t a toilet thing, it’s a Coriolis thing. A what, you say? The Coriolis force affects all objects moving in a rotating system and without going into details, it’s what would theoretically explain this phenomenon. Its direction depends on where the object is in relation to the axis of rotation of the earth, hence the difference between the two hemispheres. Some of you might not know this but I was a Physics major. I remember the day when we had an exercise in which we calculated if this toilet myth really was true. Now that I think back, this would have made an excellent Mythbusters episode (easily my favorite show on TV nowadays). As it turns out the Coriolis force is too weak to consistently determine the direction of a whirlpool in a toilet bowl. The myth was busted!
Before we determined that, I remember asking my teacher what would happen if someone built a toilet exactly on the equator. How would the water know where to go? Would it do one of those straight-down no-whirling flushes? Poor water, it would know what to do with itself! The teacher never acknowledged my question.